Food banks across the United States are struggling to keep up with the number of Americans in need of help amid record inflation and the supply chain crisis that has gripped the nation ahead of the holidays.
Alameda County, California Community Food Bank was forced to “make many very tough choices” due to inflation and rising food costs, its CEO, Regi Young, told NPR on Saturday. With prices rising for some “core foods,” such as fruit, vegetables and canned goods, he said the bank was forced to stretch the budget “as much as possible to ensure that the families in our community have the food they need.”
The food banks are also paralyzed with transport problems and long delivery times. “Last year we managed to get things from about two to three weeks. But today we really need to double this time frame, “ in Young.
Rising inflation and supply hiccups are particularly painful ahead of the upcoming US holiday season, with some food banks already resorting to releasing chicken, fish and other meats for Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey.
“Just to put it in perspective, last year we made anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 turkeys, and this year I have five in my freezer,” said Tracey Engel, director of Arkansas’ River Valley Regional Food Bank on Friday, adding that food supplies are now taking «Up to four months» due to the huge increase in transportation costs.
“It’s not because there are no turkeys, it’s that the turkeys are in the wrong places at the wrong time,” an agricultural economist at Michigan State University, Trey Malone, explained to Vox earlier this week, rejecting the term “lack.”
After seeing an increase in Americans seeking help over the Covid-19 pandemic, food banks are increasingly calling for more volunteers and donations to meet the high demand.
Feeding America COO Katie Fitzgerald warned this week that “food security” for the needy has gotten worse and that food banks across the country will not be able to absorb the costs much longer. Fitzgerald – whose organization oversees more than 200 food banks in the United States – called the shortage one “insult to injury” to struggling families who have already suffered so much in recent years.
President Joe Biden has been widely criticized for his perceived inability to curb the country’s inflation, and even CNN calls it a “political nightmare” for the 46th President. The cost of living in the United States has risen by a record two decades by 6.2%, according to an October report from the Department of Labor. Goldman Sachs recently warned that inflation will do so “will probably get worse before it gets better,” and even Biden himself admitted that the prices are too high.
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